This is a blog all just for me. It has no purpose whatsoever except for me to share some of the random nonsense I happen to be thinking about in my day-to-day life. Sometimes it sure is nice not to have a purpose.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Learning to Take Criticism

I've decided that one of my mid-year resolutions is to improve how I take criticism. I think that this is definitely one of my weaknesses. When I receive criticism or even perceive receiving criticism, I get my feelings hurt and I can be very defensive. Speaking on my own behalf, I think that criticism is doled out a bit liberally these days (see my previous post, One Critical World). I also don't think I'm so uncommon in having a hard time taking criticism--who does like to have their faults pointed out?

Excuses aside, I am going to work on being more gracious when I feel like I'm being criticized. I did a little research to find some advice and one simple piece that I am going to try to incorporate is thanking the person for their feedback. Now, I will need to make sure that my thanking comes out calm and sincere and not sarcastic. That will perhaps be the hardest part, and I think that it will rely on me developing a true calmness in my being when facing criticism. An approach that may help in this regard is one psychologist's recommendation to try dissociation. In a nutshell, you are supposed to try to remove yourself from the situation, as if you are an observer of the criticism rather than a recipient. This is not to say that you completely disregard the criticism, because there may indeed be some useful information being imparted. The key is to take the "personal" part out of the message and simply view it as neutrally as possible. Then, it's just a matter of deciding if the criticism has potential benefit for you or not. Chances are there is probably some kernel of truth worth facing if you're brave enough to recognize your shortcomings and even braver to try to improve.

Another step that I'm going to try out in addition to thanking the person for their observation is to turn around and ask them if they have any advice on how I can improve. Again, the success of this will rely on me being able to do so in earnest without any defensiveness or sarcasm in my voice, facial expressions, and body language. And again, that will be the hard part since I often feel hurt or embarassed when criticized. So again, I guess I'll give the whole dissociation technique a chance and see how well I can pull that off. It seems as unwieldy a technique as something like "visualizing yourself winning the race," but I suppose could prove just as powerful when accomplished.

1 comment:

  1. I was asked before why I never seemed to get bothered by what people say about me. My answer was, "Because I don't give a damn what other people say." It's worked out for me. :)